Here is How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Speed and Boost Internet Connection in 8 Simple Steps

Banish slow Wi-Fi, speed up your internet connection and improve your WIFI speed instantly with these expert tips.

Knowing how to increase internet speed is crucial if you want to always have fast internet across your internet enabled devices such as PC, smartphones (android or IOS) and smart TVs.

How to increase your Wi-Fi speed instantly

As the work from home culture continues to grow, the need for a good internet speed cannot be overlooked. Slow Wi-Fi can interrupt virtual meetings, VOIP services, affect your upload and download, cause chaos in online worlds, and pause your video stream for buffering.

No one wants a slow internet.

In this guide, you will learn how to increase your WIFI speed in 6 simple steps that will instantly speed up your internet connection and improve your internet speed. After this tutorial both your upload and download speed will increase and you will be able to get better internet speeds.

Why is My Internet Connection So Slow?

Slow internet speeds can be caused by different things. Your internet is probably slow because your router could be outdated or too far away from your connected devices. To fix such issues, simply restart your modem and router, upgrade to a mesh network or use a WIFI extender. The other reasons your internet might be slow include: bandwidth throttling, a virus or malware, large number of connected devices and the weather.

Infographic image with all the reasons why your internet is slow and how to increase your internet speed
things that slow down internet connection and reduce your Wi-Fi speed

The first thing you should do to improve your internet speed is diagnose the problem. As vast as the internet is, there are lots of little things you can test without having to contact an expert.

That way, at the very least, you can rule out some of the more general factors that could be slowing down your internet. This will make your call to your internet service provider (ISP) less frustrating if/when the time comes to get an expert’s opinion.

Some of the things that make your Wi-Fi slow (and how to fix them)

The weather

There’s some debate on whether the actual weather—rain and high winds—can impact internet speeds or if it’s simply the results of inclement weather (hail and ice damaging power and phone lines). According to reports by Techwalla, water droplets can absorb the radio frequency associated with Wi-Fi signal, thus partially blocking the signal. Of course, since most home Wi-Fi is deployed in the home, it seems strange that rain would hurt a typical person’s internet performance.

The website you are trying to access could be slow

As ubiquitous as YouTube is, there once was a time, however brief, when no one in the world could access it. Yes, even go-to sites and social media platforms can have bad days. So, if you’re experiencing slow load times on your Facebook account but everything else seems OK, it might not be your internet speed.

The best way to rule this out is to try accessing other sites. If you’re finding that load speeds are considerably faster on image-heavy sites like Imgur when compared to the text-heavy Reddit, then you know it’s probably not your connection, that’s the problem.

Check your internet enabled device to make sure all is good

You might just have a slow phone. If you’re browsing the internet on your smartphone and it’s taking a while to load certain pages, it might be the device. In the event it’s your phone that’s at fault, we recommend looking for any firmware updates you might have missed.

Also, if possible, see if you can try accessing the same pages using another device like a tablet or a laptop. If you don’t have any problems on other devices, then it could be a device issue that’s causing the slow speeds.

The number of active internet users connected to your Wi-Fi

Sometimes you’re not the only one on the network, and whether it’s your roommate downloading a massive file or multiple family members trying to stream Amazon Prime Video, this can impact your internet speeds.

Theoretically, most individual wireless routers can support up to 250 connected devices, according to Lifewire, but it’s certainly not ideal.

These devices would all share the same network connection and it wouldn’t take long to max out the network speeds with multiple users all engaged in various forms of streaming, downloading, uploading, or just browsing.

A virus or malware

If you’re experiencing slow speeds on a desktop PC or a laptop, you should consider the possibility of a computer virus.

These malicious programs can live rent-free on your machines, sucking up resources and performing tasks in the background that can slow down your computer. We recommend scanning your computer daily and there’s a plethora of free, reputable anti-virus programs to consider.

How to Improve Your Internet Speed

Follow these 8 simple steps to improve your Wi-Fi speed right now.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the more common causes (and potential fixes) for slow downloads and streaming, let’s talk about how to increase your internet speed. There are quite a few things you can do that can help kick your network into a higher gear. We’ll start with the less intensive tips and work our way up.

1. Restart your entire connection by turning things off and on

If you’re experiencing slow internet speed, the first thing to do is to restart your entire internet connection and devices. First power cycle everything to see if your Wi-Fi speed improves.

Restart your modem

Start by unplugging your modem or wireless gateway, wait 40-60 seconds, and then plug it back in. This process gives the modem some time to properly clear out any glitches.

Your modem translates internet signals between your home or office network and your internet provider. If your internet is not as fast as it should be, a power cycle is a good place to start troubleshooting, and in many cases, fixes connection issues.

Restart your router

If you have a standalone router, repeat the process. Like with the modem, a power cycle completely clears your router’s memory and gives it a fresh start with a boost on tasks that were bogging it down before.

Lastly, turn off the Wi-Fi on all your internet enabled wireless devices on the network. Wait a few seconds and then toggle Wi-Fi back on. After these devices reconnect, check to see if your internet connection improves.

A power cycle might seem very simple on surface level, but turning your home or office networking equipment off and on again can really give your network a boost and in turn boost your internet speed.

2. Update your internet browser or apps

Believe it or not, part of the problem could be with your internet browser. We’re mostly speaking to the desktop/laptop users but it’s still something to consider. Take, for example, what Mozilla engineer Chris Peterson had to say in a Twitter thread a few months back regarding YouTube and the Firefox internet browser.

The engineering program manager at Mozilla helped shed some light on why YouTube’s page load rate was 5 times slower on Firefox than on Chrome. Turns out YouTube’s redesign had been optimized in such a way that only the Chrome browser was displaying the site properly.

Sometimes, if the pages aren’t loading or your download is taking too long, it could be worth trying a different browser. In the case of Peterson, he was able to point Firefox users toward an extension that would address this discrepancy.

We also recommend keeping your browser up to date with the latest patches and fixes. Most browsers do a pretty good job of auto-updating or raising the alarm when you’re caught using last year’s model.

3. Change the ethernet cable

Ethernet cables are those cords that almost look like phone cables, but are slightly wider at the plug-in component. They plug into the back of the modem and the wireless router and different types work better or facilitate different speeds.

Sometimes the problem with slow internet speeds could be with the cable, especially if you’re using an older type. Try replacing the existing ethernet cable with a newer version. These can be purchased at most retailers that specialize in consumer electronics.

4. Move your router to a better location with stronger network reception signals

Sometimes the simplest way to speed up the internet and increase your internet speed is as simple as moving the router to a different (in most cases better) location.

If you think about Wi-Fi signals as radio signals, then it makes sense. The farther you get away from the router (and the more walls and floors between your device and the router), the weaker the signal. The weaker the signal, the slower your internet speed.

So, if you place your router at an edge of your home’s space, you may likely have issues with Wi-Fi signal strength at the other end. The best location to place your router for an improved internet speed is in a central and elevated location, close to where you use the internet most often.

Do not put your router in the basement or locked in a closet – that’s just setting yourself up for connectivity issues.

5. Adjust your router’s antennas (if your router has an adjustable antenna)

Many routers and wireless gateways have internal antennas. This means the antennas are mounted inside the device, and you can’t adjust them. If that’s the case for you, skip this step or just move the router till you find a better location.

If you do have adjustable antennas on your router, you can try reconfiguring them. Router antennas are usually omni-directional. This means they send out signals in all directions perpendicular to the antenna. For example, a vertical antenna sends out Wi-Fi signals horizontally and vice versa.

So, if you need to stretch your Wi-Fi signals to multiple floors, adjusting an antenna to sit horizontally to spread Wi-Fi signals up and down could help.

6. Update the firmware on the router

All routers come with firmware that, on occasion, will need to be updated. This is done manually and most routers come with detailed instructions on how to determine your router’s information and finding the necessary updates.

However, if you are having trouble with this or don’t know where to begin, we found this detailed wikihow guide on how to update router firmware to be extremely helpful. By updating the router’s firmware, you can improve the connectivity and, perhaps more importantly, keep your wireless network secure from unwanted visitors.

7. Replace your old router with a new one made for faster internet connection

Routers can become obsolete long before the physical parts begin to fail. As wireless networking standards continue to improve, devices that were better suited for older standards start to show their age.

In situations such as these, there might be nothing for it but to purchase a new router. In our review of the best wireless routers, we considered 136 models before arriving at our top picks. We recommend reviewing our findings and considering your home’s layout (as well as the number of people on the network) in order to find the most optimal router for your needs.

8. Consider using a Wi-Fi extender to Extend your Wi-Fi network

We already mentioned how helpful simply moving your router can be. However, if this is inconvenient or not feasible and you’re still left with Wi-Fi dead zones, the next best step could be to look into a Wi-Fi extender.

Just like it sounds, these handy devices can be plugged into power outlets and catch Wi-Fi signal, and then release it with minimal interference. In our testing, we covered two of the best models on the market with our focus primarily on reliability. If moving the wireless router just isn’t an option, try extending the signal, instead.

An expert’s advice on getting a faster internet connection

Have you ever tried to watch Netflix in 4K only to have your episode of “The Office” interrupted by a buffering screen? What about that YouTube viral video everyone’s talking about that just won’t finish loading? Maybe you’ve just been trying to download a video of your granddaughter’s first communion and it’s taking forever.

Slow internet can be a real drag in a world where the internet is everywhere and integral to so much in our lives. So, what do you do when your attempts to have movie night with Netflix or Hulu are thwarted by slow internet speeds? Or when you’re left out in the cold at the office water cooler because your internet isn’t fast enough for you to see the latest viral YouTube video? You need to increase your internet speed. But how?

How to speed up your internet connection right now

If you notice a slow connection on your computer, mobile phone or internet enabled device, follow the common steps below to speed up your internet connection.

  • Close all open applications currently not being used.
  • Clear your browsing history including cookies and browser’s cache.
  • Switch to a plugged-in connection (i.e., Ethernet cord), if you are connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Check for the latest computer software updates and restart your device.
  • Restart modem or router to allow fresh connection.
  • Check to make sure your browser is up to date and that you’re running the latest version. Do an update if your browser is running an outdated version.

Internet Speed FAQ

Craig Macaulay
Craig Macaulay

Craig Macaulay is an experienced prof. in business and human resource management. His area of expertise and interest includes business strategy, planning, Fintech and corporate social responsibility. Over the last decade, Craig has mentored several students, tried lots of software and served as a business technology analyst, operation, and marketing consultant for numerous businesses. In his words "I like to help small business owners grow their business and make money online, it doesn't hurt if we all just grow, you know".